Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Which came first? The country or the butter... or the reputation?
Aaaah, French butter. World-renowned, internationally respected and sought-after by many (though not all. This one's for you, Carli). There's a reason it as the reputation it does: France really has taken its food obsession to even the humble dairy cow.
For which, of course, I am eternally grateful.
Grateful in particular for Isigny Ste Mère, which happens to be turning 40 this year! Bonne anniversaire, mon grand! It's impressive that a company formally founded in 1980 could reach this level of irrefutable international repute so quickly (even the two cooperatives who founded it were only established after 1900), but such is the dedication of the French to their produits laitieres.
Personally, I subscribe to the Michel Roux Jr philosophy on mashed potatoes:
And this is absolutely the perfect butter with which to do this.
Om nom nom, y'all.
Isigny Sainte Mère Beurre-d'Isigngy Demi-sel Appreciation
Butter Break Down
Appreciation Date: 02/06/2020
Country of Origin: France
Point of Procurement: Carrefour, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai (natch.)
Purchase State: Fresh
Milk: Cow, pasteurised.
Salt Content: Demi-sel
Fat Content: 80%
Ingredients: Pasteurised cows' milk, sea salt, bacterial cultures.
Declared Possible Allergens: Cow's milk, confidence.
Company Website: http://www.isigny-ste-mere.com/en/
In which we discuss Isigny Sainte Mère's butter.
This one is for grown-ups only. Though I suspect the children would enjoy it very much, I'm not in the mood to share. I have fresh French butter and fresh French bread and life is far too short to share it with human Hoovers sometimes.
This picture was taken at night but you can still see that it's a pleasant yellow, still quite firm with a medium gloss to it. (It took up subsequent residence in the butter dish and did very well there.)
It smells like great butter. Dairy, the sea, a very faint fermented tang to it, this stuff smells like carb-free happiness. Don't despair! The carbs come later. Opening some butters can be slightly disappointing- you have to get right down to it in order to appreciate their aromas. Not this one. When you unwrap with your hands and eyes, you unwrap with your sense of smell too. Devine.
As for the taste and texture of this one, it's of reassurance. This butter has more air miles to its name than I do this year but it's not worn out or weary- it's happy to see me. The faint ferment is stronger on the palate, reminding you of extremely fresh cheese but it's got more punch and body from the sea salt. It's powerful and holds its own against the tangy baguette but also compliments it beautifully.
Amazing stuff. These two are made for each other.
The texture has integrity, despite the fact that it's only 80% milkfat- relatively low on the scheme of things. This butter's higher moisture content should make bakers a bit wary as most recipes take it for granted that all butters are created equally. However, an 80% vs 82% milk fat/water make up will significantly impact the lamination and rise on those croissants!
... what a fabulous idea. I may have to pursue that...
This stuff is the reason the French are known for their butter. It's amazing on its own and robust enough with which to finish off a dish. I get the feeling this is the sort of butter Samin Nosrat is talking about when she talks about butter lifting a dish. Smart woman.
Colour: Gentle yellow- medium gloss.
Aroma: Dairy ferment. BUTTER.
Taste: Robust, powerful, buttery. Great tang from the cultures with a smooth mouthfeel.
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